Saturday, May 03, 2003

Infinite Crisis #7 Review



I realize that this sounds terribly, terribly patronizing, and I apologize for that, but what can I say, it is what I believe, and if my belief is patronizing...well, I'm sorry. Okay, here goes - I think that most people who think Infinite Crisis #7 was a good comic are, well, deluding themselves.

This is different from people who liked Infinite Crisis as a whole.

This is also different from people who "didn't think it was THAT bad" or anything like that.

That's fine by me.

But "it was good"?

Come on now.

This was not a good comic book. And I personally don't even really blame Geoff Johns. This read like one of the most rushed, thrown together comics I can recall reading.

So if you think it was a GOOD comic (and not "I thought this was going to suck, but it didn't" or anything like that), I can't help but question your skills of perception.

Why I don't blame Johns is because so much of Infinite Crisis, as I've written in the past, has been just achieving various purposes. Making Batman less dickish. Making the DC Universe a little brighter. Addressing some continuity things that apparently are driving, like, five people nuts. Stuff like that.

Infinite Crisis was never about telling a story, but at least in the first six issues, there was a bit of an attempt.

That attempt ceased to exist in #7. #7 was just a collection of "big" scenes. To the point where the greatest superhero/supervillain fight ever is awarded something like, five pages of story. And two of them certainly APPEAR as though they were not even inked in time, so they were just colored red. What do you folks think? Do you think DC actually did that? Just colored a bunch of a two-page spread to save some time? Or was it just a stylistic choice? And the other scenes were drawn so half-heartedly that I can easily claim that certain characters DIDN'T die, mainly because they were drawn so poorly I could argue they were some other character. In addition, how odd is the idea of having a bunch of characters show up who almost no one this side of, well, me know just for the sake of having them slaughtered?

Later on, there's a major scene with Batman and Wonder Woman. The pacing of the story totally strips the scene of any merit, and the art hurts it as well. To wit, a sound effect makes it sound like Batman tried to shoot Alex Luthor, when actually, he clearly was just cocking the gun. Later, Wonder Woman throws her sword to the ground, breaking it. The art doesn't show that, though, choosing instead to just show her dropping the sword and it breaking for some unexplained reason. Wonder Woman also completely reverses her well-though-out position on the killing issue - and we are given no explanation WHY.

That is what Infinite Crisis is about, though. It is about getting Wonder Woman to say, "Hey, killing is wrong." WHY she says it is unimportant, I guess.

Another point in this series is about how the big three are not needed, because we have so many second-tier characters. This is demonstrated in a two-page spread by Joe Bennett where he apparently was given a lunch break to pencil and ink a two-page spread with 50-odd characters on it. At least that's what the art looks like (as an aside, are these the only superheroes not slaughtered by Superboy?). However, early on in the issue, we saw that, if it weren't for the big-name heroes, the lesser-known heroes would have been slaughtered by the bad guys. So...huh?

Also, Donna Troy...what the heck? They didn't even really ATTEMPT to tie her in, did they? Man, she looks like a total moron in this series. Yes, it could be explained somewhere else, but the fact remains that it SHOULD have been explained HERE, and it wasn't. That is not good.

So, what do you call a comic that is totally rushed, to the detriment of the art, and has no coherent narrative, but rather just a collection of scenes meant to "get something" done?

I do not know.

I know what you should NOT call it, though.

And that's a good comic book.

Not recommended.

Read the Review

25 Comments:

Blogger William O'Brien said...

The series had its moments, but as a whole it was pretty lacking. I'm really surprised by the amount of sloppiness involved given how far in advance DC was preparing for this series. Apparently Jiminez just couldn't shoulder the burden.

The whole Crisis rigamarole did generate some good stuff though, like Villains United, the OYL Batman and Superman books, and some spotlight time for lesser known characters.

I'm also intrigued by 52, which probably couldn't happen w/o IC.

I definitely think Civil War has a lot more potential for success, since it seems to actually have a destination in mind and a superior creative team.

5/08/2006 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous muldertp said...

I actually liked most of Infinite Crisis (despite the stupid decapitations) until this issue.

5 Pages of superheroes covered in blood is just sickening. I can't think of letting any child of mine buy comics on their own if this is mainstream comics now. Not to mention you couldn't tell which of the 3 was which in most of it except for the occasional grey stripe of hair. It was just a mess of blood.

Not to mention the (apparently unintentional) loose ends, painful dialogue (and I like most of Johns dialogue for the fun factor), and very sloppy art. It even seemed like Perez was rushed on the cover.

I had high hopes for 52, but if they have to rush in the same way to keep it "on schedule," I might as well cancel it now.

5/09/2006 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Apparently Jiminez just couldn't shoulder the burden."

To be fair, I don't think anyone figured he COULD, as he's just not that type of artist, so it was unrealistic of DC to expect more from him.

5/09/2006 02:10:00 AM  
Anonymous SpiritGlyph said...

Infinite Crisis was one of those events that started out well-managed, and then slowly but surely slid into the abyss. Back when the four miniseries were going on, I was quite impressed with how well coordinated DC seemed to be. It clearly didn't last. Infinite Crisis only got worse and worse, with this issue being the icing on the cake.

The inkless red backgrounds. Alex Luthor baldly expositing on the effects of the latest change in status quo. Superboy Prime being Superboy Prime. The terrible battle between three characters only distinguishable by minute details.
Earth-2 Superman continuing to be mind-numbingly stupid. Superboy Prime not being dead. NO ONE liked Superboy Prime, and no one is clamoring for his return.

I'm highly uncertain about the editorial changes at play here. Everyone remembers everything? What the hell does that mean? Does everyone remember Earth-2 Superman fighting in World War II, or just the JSA? Does Black Canary remember believing she was her own mother, or how she used to be a founding member of the Justice League but no longer is?

So yeah. That was slightly less than half an ass.

5/09/2006 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Bastarður Víkinga said...

I quite liked IC.

But the last issue was a mess.

Whatever.

I'll wait a couple of months and then I'll reread it in one sitting.

5/09/2006 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think it's very hard for a Big Event like this to ever be a good story. I'm sure it can be done; I just can't think of any examples. And there were so many competing priorities for 'Infinite Crisis' that I'm not surprised that a few pieces fell off the table.

So maybe it wasn't a good comic. Was it a good Big Event? Very possibly. I think it positioned DC very well to make better comics in the future. Of course, they still have to go do it.

And I did enjoy the series. There was good stuff in it. Even in #7.

5/09/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Jer said...

The first six issues of IC were decent "BIG EVENT" fare. It had some big stupid superhero battles and some interesting moments. It suffered from Johns's writing style (which is to say, moving from one "SHOCK" to the next "SHOCK" without really giving you much time to let the "SHOCK" sink in), but whatever. I was set to put this one up around Legends or Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet as far as big events go. (I had to get over my own innate biases against an "event" that casts the Earth Prime Superboy and Earth-3 Luthor as villains, given the happy ending they got at the end of Crisis, but whatever, its comics).

But that last issue - totally deflated. Its like it had all of Johns's usually writing problems taken to the nth degree. Every page or so was another SHOCK or overwhelming visual, or something. And of course the art was rushed (I wasn't expecting anything different), but the script seemed rushed too. Like Johns only had a vague idea of what he wanted to do and had to throw his outline out to the pencillers to work with.

I dunno. Its still better than Bloodlines, and at least its more exciting than Millenium, but damn, after that Villains United special I was looking forward to a big exciting superhero vs supervillain war, and it felt like I only got about a half dozen or so pages of that.

(Oh, and anyone who thinks this series could have been given to a kid prior to this most recent issue needs to go back to the issues where Superboy was killing the Titans. I knew then that this wasn't a series to give to an 8 year old.

5/09/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Jordan D. White said...

Overall, agreed... I enjoyed Infinite Crisis as a whole, I think, but the last issue was disappointing. It did feel rushed, and it was confusing and a little forced.

And the red inkless background was possibly the worst moment in any comic I've seen in some time. It looked terrible. My immediate thought was that it was not done in time. IF it was a stylistic choice (which I find very hard to believe) it is a TERRIBLE choice. It makes ALL the people in the background unidentifiable without spending like five to ten minutes scrutinizing them.

I don't think this says anything bad against 52, though. I still have high hopes for it. If anything, I would guess that since they DO have 52 firing on all cylendars and running on time, it forced them to put this out early. They can't start 52 late and then catch up later. It's already weekly. 2 issues in 1 week would be a terrible idea. So being one week off would throw the whole solicitations for all the months' worth they've done.

5/09/2006 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supposedly the whole idea behind Crises on Infinite Earths/Zero Hour/Infinite Crisis was to make the DC universe less complicated and easier to understand.

Boy did THAT fail. Understanding the concept of Earth-1, Earth-2 etc. was child's play compared to making sense of the D.C. Universe of today. Here we are in 2006 and they are STILL trying to fix the mess of things that COIE created, and every time they do it just gets worse.

5/09/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the big heroes of earth disappearing for a year? All their monthly books jumping ahead one year? A yearly title written just to explain what they did for the year?

Sounds like a great idea!

When Marvel did it with Secret War in the eighties, that is.

5/09/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

"Supposedly the whole idea behind Crises on Infinite Earths/Zero Hour/Infinite Crisis was to make the DC universe less complicated and easier to understand.

Boy did THAT fail. Understanding the concept of Earth-1, Earth-2 etc. was child's play compared to making sense of the D.C. Universe of today. Here we are in 2006 and they are STILL trying to fix the mess of things that COIE created, and every time they do it just gets worse."

It all stems back to DC's fundamental flaw: they always try t explain every change in-story. Instead of just closing out the old DC universe and starting a brand-new one, they had to do an in-story revamp that just made it more confusing.

5/09/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Supposedly the whole idea behind Crises on Infinite Earths/Zero Hour/Infinite Crisis was to make the DC universe less complicated and easier to understand.

I don't know about Zero Hour or IC, but I think it's off-base to say "the whole idea" behind COIE was to make the DC Universe less complicated. This has probably been stated repeatedly in places I haven't seen, but the genesis of COIE was that DC was looking for ways to celebrate 50 years of publishing comics. Packing as many of its characters (including ones it had bought from other companies) as possible into one giant colorful box seemed like the obvious answer. That raised some obvious problems: How do you get characters from different times (from Anthro through Kamandi and beyond) all together in the same story? How do you get characters from different "continuities" (meaning, in large measure, characters not originally published by DC and in some cases never published by DC) all together in one story?

There were probably several ways to answer those questions, but certainly a plot that involved the dissolution of temporal and dimensional boundaries was a likely suspect. COIE was the plot they came up with to do that. Once they'd come up with the story, DC loudly touted the wonders of unifying the "confusing" Multiverse. But I suspect that solving that "problem" was more of a by-product of trying to satisfy all these goals than it was a driving force.

Why does any of this matter? Well, remember that COIE was put out in an era when massive crossovers were not yet known to be cash cows. Not only that, but it was a product of the very uncynical editorial reign of Dick Giordano at DC. Its purpose was celebratory, and so, for the most part, was its tone. Sure, Barry Allen and Kara Zor-el were killed - but they died in ways that honored and celebrated heroic ideals.

Twenty years later, I can't say whether COIE is a good story - I haven't read it in a long time, and I've changed since it first came out. But I do recall that it was exciting and fun at the time, and that's because, Multiverse or no Multiverse, it had an ultimately positive and joyous vision, linked to the fact that it was a celebration. Infinite Crisis seems to have had little reason for existing other than to "start a buzz" and rake in the bucks. Making money is certainly a sine qua non of the comics business, like any other business - but that doesn't mean it has to be the only motivation.

5/09/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Jer said...

"All the big heroes of earth disappearing for a year? All their monthly books jumping ahead one year? A yearly title written just to explain what they did for the year?

Sounds like a great idea!

When Marvel did it with Secret War in the eighties, that is."

Now, now anonymous - during the Secret War, the heroes were gone for about a week and the books jumped forward for a week (I think - it may have been a month, but I distinctly recall it being about a week). The miniseries itself lasted a year, but not the "real time" that they were gone.

On the other hand, Heroes Reborn had the major heroes gone for a real year (or so - I don't remember this one exactly either). Now, that whole thing was pretty much crap, but it did bring about a run on the Thunderbolts that was a lot of fun and one of the better stories I recall Marvel producing at the time. Hopefully 52 will have some good things come out of it as well.

As for using Crisis as "cleanup", if I recall interviews with Wolfman correctly, the whole "Use the Crisis to give a single universe and clean things up" bit came about AFTER the series had started getting plotted. With both IC and Zero Hour, it seems like the continuity revisions are giving rise to the story, and I think that may be why they come across as lesser works.

(And, yes, I did re-read Crisis recently and while it isn't as good as I may have recalled, it still holds up pretty well. It drags on a bit towards the middle, and bits of the ending feel kind of "tacked on", but at least the fight scenes are exciting and the main villain's plots and goals seem to hold up throughout...)

5/09/2006 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Hale of Angelthorne said...

I was going blind trying to follow all the stuff crammed into the grotesquely overloaded George Perez panels. And I still have no idea WHY an Infinite Crisis was even necessary in the first place. Crisis on Infinite Earths? Sure, obviously. The DCU was bloated, sprawling, inconsistent; it didn't have to all disappear in a puff of antimatter, but I can see an argument for it, at least. Infinite Crisis, I just don't get it. What was so terrible about the DCU that this was necessary? Or was it all just a big overloaded marketing ploy?

5/09/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, the biggest flaw is how they removed Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from the canvas for a year. I'm sorry, it should have been...bigger than that.

Superman, ok, he lost his powers flying through a red sun. Fair enough. but Wonder Woman and Batman just taking a year off to go find themselves? That's really lame.

I also would have liked them to be bold enough to have not killed off Kal-L, but that's just me.

Issue #7 is not very good, it is true. It's a messy collection of scenes, not held together by much of anything of a narrative. It's not even as good of a lead-in to 52 as it should have been.

I still like the OYL concept and the ambition of 52. And so far, a number of titles have taken advantage of it and done well. Of course, I'm a sucker for this sort of gimmick, having loved the LSH "5 Years After" reboot (which rocked, just about up to the point where they blew up Earth).

5/09/2006 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger The Fortress Keeper said...

I thought issue 7 was basically OK but could have been better. The Green Lantern sequence basically made the book for me (minus the stupid super-breath part) and I was excited to see Wild Dog because I enjoyed the series way back when.

Nice to see Kal-El give Superboy a good whuppin.

But the fight in Metropolis was a severe let down after the Villains United special and I didn't need to see Earth-2 Superman drowning in buckets of blood.

5/10/2006 01:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Marshall said...

I think issue #7's biggest problem stems from the fact that it wasn't supported by anything else. I mean, a lot of stuff is just touched on quickly in IC #1-6, and various crossover books and tie-ins expand on them. You read IC, you get a sense of the big picture, and you read the tie-in stuff, you get the details. Pain to follow, yes, pain on the wallet, absolutely, but the information is there.

Problem is, IC #7 is written in that same "broad brushstroke" style, but since all the other titles have already jumped One Year Later, there's none of that same support detail stuff going on.

5/10/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous muldertp said...

"(Oh, and anyone who thinks this series could have been given to a kid prior to this most recent issue needs to go back to the issues where Superboy was killing the Titans. I knew then that this wasn't a series to give to an 8 year old."

I didn't say that. Just that it reinforces the idea that I wouldn't allow any kid of mine to buy any comic (at least by DC) without me reading through it in the store first anymore.

5/10/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I distinctly remember that right from the start, the main thrust of the original crisis was to simplify, condense and improve the D.C. Universe. They advertised it that way, they referred it as such in interviews at the time. Even at that time, getting rid of the multiple earths and revamping D.C.'s history was highly controversial. Remember that most of the D.C. Universe rebooted at about that time, pretty much wiping the golden, silver, and bronze eras from history. Sure, they were celebrating 50 years, but that the point wasn't to just celebrate, it was to start fresh. The powers that be felt that the D.C. Universe had become too complicated with too much history for new readers to understand.

The funny thing is, I read all those comics AS A KID and had no problems understanding them. Or in picking up new titles and easily figuring out what was going on in them. They used to explain the entire "multiple earths" concept in what, 2 panels?

However, today, as an adult, after numerous reboots, revamps, alternate realities, All Star versions, ignored continuity, retcons, re-imaginings, etc. I couldn't tell you much about the history of any D.C. character, what is in continuity, what isn't, or even IF THERE IS a continuity. Try explaining the Legion of Super Heroes or Hawkman in 4 sentences or less to someone who has never read a comic before, then tell me again how much simpler everything is.

Not to mention that half the stuff they got rid of has been BROUGHT BACK, but only as a pale shadow of the original versions.

None of these problems existed before COIE, and attempts to "fix" things have only made them worse.

Throw in rapes, bloody mutilations, excessive violence, and gore in the name of "shock value" and is it any wonder that comics sales have gone down the tubes in the last 25 years or so? Sure, the direct market had a lot to do with it too, but all this other stuff is what has alienated and driven away the existing dedicated customer base. The violence, confusion, and direct market just make it all the harder to replace them with new customers.

5/10/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Superman, ok, he lost his powers flying through a red sun. Fair enough. but Wonder Woman and Batman just taking a year off to go find themselves? That's really lame."

Actually, the story is so poorly written IT WASN'T EVEN CLEARLY APPARENT THAT SUPERMAN HAD LOST HIS POWERS.

After re-reading it a few times and seeing some posts on the internet I connected the dots, but the first time I read it I was just confused as to how Superman could even SURVIVE entering a red sun. I had no idea he lost his powers as a result.

5/10/2006 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was going blind trying to follow all the stuff crammed into the grotesquely overloaded George Perez panels. And I still have no idea WHY an Infinite Crisis was even necessary in the first place. Crisis on Infinite Earths? Sure, obviously. The DCU was bloated, sprawling, inconsistent; it didn't have to all disappear in a puff of antimatter, but I can see an argument for it, at least. Infinite Crisis, I just don't get it. What was so terrible about the DCU that this was necessary? Or was it all just a big overloaded marketing ploy?"

The saddest thing is, they led us to believe that Infinite Crisis was the springboard to a more humane, less dreary, less grim D.C.

Then what did we get? Arms ripped out of sockets, eyes poked through the back of skulls, brains blown out, mass meaningless death.

It kind of makes the "big climax" with Wonder Woman making the unexplained and inconsistant leap to "no more killing" ring pretty hollow.

5/10/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cheeseburger said...

Here's a cute thing:
Infinite Crisis in 30 Seconds

5/10/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Arndt said...

"But I do recall that it was exciting and fun at the time, and that's because, Multiverse or no Multiverse, it had an ultimately positive and joyous vision, linked to the fact that it was a celebration."

I'd like to think of it as ultimately positive except that at the very end... the heroes lost.

They did.

Billions died. If the heroes were really out to protect the worlds, it's not a wonderful way to go about positive feeling when all the worlds but one are dead.

5/10/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I loved it because it entertained me, which, to me, makes it a good comic.

But then I feel no need to take my entertainment that seriously....Otherwise I wouldn't find it entertaining.

Paul Newell

5/10/2006 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous jimtreacher said...

"Making the DC Universe a little brighter."

Examples?

5/12/2006 10:59:00 PM  

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